Ambush! - American Monster (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


American Monster (2008)


Based on the following clues, please use inductive reasoning to determine the style of play found on this release:

"Out for Blood"
Ear gauges
Judge t-shirts

If you guessed some variety of modern hardcore, you are correct, and capable of coming to obvious conclusions. If you ignored the clues and instead based your answer on the cover artwork and some previous awareness of Michale Graves' stint in the Misfits, you are incorrect, but kudos for demonstrating useless esoteric knowledge.

So yes, that is exactly what we have here. Neither fully committed to youth crew revival (not enough gang vocals), heavy hardcore (too many different chords) or nü-hardcore (not enough melody), Ambush! is a variance of fairly straightforward guitars, a moderate amount of double-bass drumming, and shouty, a-melodic vocals. The lyrics are generally fairly positive as modern hardcore goes, and generally pretty good. "Testing the Immortals Name" muses loudly, "What have you become in these dark days? A slave to vice. A shell to strife / Too far for us to save your life, and now you're lying to yourself."

With an opening bassline bouncing back and forth like a pinball, the title track takes target practice with American culture in the crosshairs, as vocalist Kyle Dischinger shouts, "This world we love was built on blood / But it's not enough to quench the thirst" before the double-bass kicks in for a round of breakdown chugs. The band borrows "The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" from Talladega Nights as a title, which seems a little bit odd for a rather serious song, but that small detractor is one of the few noticeable foibles of the album.

So while yes, this is a hardcore record through and through, it's not a complete carbon copy of what's already out there. Delicately picking from their forerunners, Ambush! have forged their own path with American Monster.